3 on a Friday: Bentley goes for more debt, Rockwell acquires Plex, FARO grabs HoloBuilder

Jun 25, 2021 | Hot Topics

A quick recap of a few things I didn’t have time to write about this week:

Bentley Systems announced this week that it was launching a second private convertible debt offering of $500 million, after doing the first in January 2021. The first $500 million was used to help fund the Seequent acquisition, which closed this month. I have no crystal ball, but it seems very likely that this additional $500 million will be used to pay down debt incurred in the Seequent acquisition and to fund whatever deal comes next.

Is Rockwell Automation starting to look like PTC? Well, in the exec ranks, perhaps. Rockwell announced today that it is acquiring Plex, to “bring the Connected Enterprise to life, driving faster time to value for our customers as they increasingly adopt cloud solutions to improve resilience, agility, and sustainability in their operations,” according to Blake Moret, CEO of Rockwell. Brian Shepherd, SVP of Software and Control (and ex-PTCer), said “Rockwell believes in the power of data and technology to transform manufacturing and industrial operations. Together with the advanced asset maintenance and management capabilities provided by our recent Fiix acquisition, Rockwell will have a strong portfolio of cloud-native solutions for our customers’ production systems upon completion of the Plex acquisition.” And there’s more: Plex’s CEO, Bill Berutti, is another former PTCer. Rockwell will pay $2.22 billion in cash for Plex. I plan to learn a lot more about this as time permits and will write more soon.

FARO last week announced the acquisition of HoloBuilder for “its leading photogrammetry-based 3D platform, which … provides general contractors a solution to efficiently capture and virtually manage construction progress using off-the-shelf 360° cameras”. FARO CEO Michael Burger said this “digitalization [of] the AEC and Operations & Maintenance (O&M) industries creates significant market opportunity for FARO. The addition of HoloBuilder to our offering accelerates the reality of a true end-to-end Digital Twin solution and advances our strategic objective of increased recurring revenue through market share gains in this large and growing segment.” Under the announced terms, HoloBuilder shareholders received a cash payment of $34 million. FARO said HoloBuilder had $4.0 million in annual recurring revenue for the year ended April 30, 2021, with a compounded annual growth rate since 2019 of nearly 75%. The transaction closed on June 4 and was funded with cash on hand.

Finally, a quick update on getting our Hot Topics blog into your email inbox. The transition from Google Feedburner to WordPress’s email engine seemed to go smoothly for many people, but not everyone. If you got an email from me last week but haven’t seen the WordPress opt-in email, please check your spam/junk folder and settings — I hear that some corporate IT setups block WordPress’ emails. If all fails, you may have to sign up using an alternate email address. As always, thanks for reading!